Akram Khan Company (United Kingdom)
©Ben Hopper: Kat Hanula: Maxime Dos
Director of Chotto Desh and Chotto Xenos: Sue Buckmaster
Dancers: Guilhem Chatir or Kennedy Junior Muntanga
Writer: Jordan Tannahill
Set Designer: Ingrid Hu
Lighting Design: Guy Hoare
Music and Sound Design: Domenico Angarano, adapted from the original score by Vincenzo Lamagna
Costume Design: Kimie Nakano
Film & Projection Design: Lucy Cash
Rehearsal Directors: Mavin Khoo & Nicola Monaco
XENOS Original Creative Team:
Dramaturg: Ruth Little,
Lighting Design: Michael Hulls
Music Score and Sound Design: Vincenzo Lamagna
Set Design: Mirella Weingarten
Duration: approx 50 mins
Age: Suitable for those age 8 years + and their families
In 2015 Akram Khan Company decided to do an experiment. They wanted to see if it would be possible to adapt one of Akram’s adult, solo pieces and turn it into a child-friendly performance and do a short tour.
Inspired by Akram Khan’s award winning final full-length solo XENOS, Chotto Xenos is a captivating dance production that takes young audiences back in time, exploring the often forgotten and untold stories of World War 1 colonial soldiers, in order to shine light on our present and future.
Reimagined by Sue Buckmaster, Artistic Director of Theatre-Rites and creator of the highly successful Chotto Desh, Chotto Xenos weaves together stunning choreography by Akram Khan, lighting design by Guy Hoare, costumes by Kimie Nakano, and tender and evocative visuals by Lucy Cash. Mounted on a set by Ingrid Hu, this family production incorporates Domenico Angarano’s stirring soundscape adapted from the original score, by Vincenzo Lamagna.
Chotto Desh has reached thousands of children offering them a high quality and truly moving and inspiring experience. Akram’s narrative about how he made sense of his cultural heritage and became a dancer has offered a reflection space for young people to ponder on their own personal narratives, especially vital for those from a mixed cultural heritage themselves, which so many children are now. It gave children a taste of the delights of Akram’s choreography which was previously less available to them.
Aspects of the original XENOS will be interwoven with more child-friendly content to present a unique new production. Children today are exposed to images of war through social media and the concept of conflict as fun through video games. They deserve to have some creative reflection time to ponder on what it means to them, the lives of those they are close to and the world they will grow up in. They are also subjected to a rather limited education about the history of war, often neglecting a very necessary re-telling of the soldiers experience, where they are from and what they believe they are fighting for. Our future peace processes rely on us inspiring a younger generation to be more tolerant and understand the triggers for conflict and ways to manage it. This begins in the playground but unfortunately doesn’t end there.
Chotto Xenos will be able to benefit from the previous tour of Chotto Desh and continue important audience development. It will inspire positive understanding of the danger of war whilst being a beautiful engagement with the best that dance and music has to offer.
Feedback and reviews
About Chotto Desh:
“Watched the show at Yokohama Red Brick Theatre and me and my 5-year old boy absolutely loved it! He told me he didn’t want it to finish. He still does the dad dance! Thanks for a brilliant piece. Please make more amazing dance pieces for kids!”
“What we saw was a charming, witty and dynamic show that explored Khan’s childhood and origins. Its fusion of dance, music, comedy and magical visual effects made Chotto Desh a unique and memorable experience. Utterly captivating!”
“I’ve just returned home from watching Chotto Desh at the Patrick Centre in Birmingham. What a delight it was. I loved the dance, the storytelling and the visual imagery and I found the whole thing both moving and funny while also being quite beautiful.”
Feedback from Chotto Desh audience members:
“An absolute triumph.” The Scotsman ★★★★★
“Energetic storytelling. Here is a bona fide great piece of dance, with resonances that go deep beneath its surface moves.” The Stage ★★★★
“Using a mixture of styles and storytelling, Khan demystifies the art of dance. Vibrant and vivid.” The List ★★★★
“A beguiling mix of dance and mime. ”The New York Times
Dennis Alamanos, dancer of Chotto Desh:
“First I believed that performing for adults was a more serious job than performing for kids but it’s actually the opposite. Inspiring a kid and encouraging him to follow his dreams and face with strength all the difficulties in life – especially now a lot of kids migrate because of war or poverty – was one of the best things that I have done as a dancer.”
Feedback and reviews about XENOS
“Sometimes I can walk out of a performance and not speak or think about it again. XENOS is an exception. I have never felt so engaged, involved and driven by the sheer emotion one man can create on stage. I could have kept applauding. Speechless.”
“Rarely do dance, music, staging, lighting, performance & choreography come together so beautifully. Stunning.”
“XENOS is filled with images that recall Beckett and Lessing’s Canopus in Argos. Brilliant stage craft, brilliant music, brilliant dancing. The longest standing ovation ever.”
Feedback from XENOS audience members
“A triumph of energy, empathy and intelligence.” The Telegraph ★★★★★
“A blaze of glory. Khan’s striking, beautiful lament is an extraordinary way to wind down a solo dance career.” Time Out ★★★★★
“A work of incredible potency, of emotional and cultural depth that sings and surges with the confidence of an artist at the peak of his powers.” The Stage ★★★★★
“A visually arresting experience on a scale so grand that, at times, you don’t believe your eyes. And, at its heart, a sobering exploration of the human experience of war and its ripple-like effects on humanity.” Limelight, Australia
Biography of artistic director/choreographer Akram Khan:
Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated dance artists today, building his reputation on the success of imaginative, highly accessible and profoundly moving productions such as Until the Lions, Kaash, iTMOi (in the mind of igor), DESH, Vertical Road, Gnosis and zero degrees. As an instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan has been a magnet to world-class artists from cultures and disciplines such as the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, choreographers/dancers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Israel Galván, singer Kylie Minogue, visual artists Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Tim Yip, and composers Steve Reich, Nitin Sawhney, Jocelyn Pook and Ben Frost. A highlight of his career was the creation of a section of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony that was received with unanimous acclaim.
Biography of director Sue Buckmaster:
Sue is the Artistic Director of Theatre-Rites and has many years of experience as a director and puppetry specialist working with a wide variety of companies including the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and the Young Vic. In 2018 she was awarded an honorary Doctorate for her outstanding contribution to theatre. For Theatre-Rites Sue has created 25 theatre and site-specific productions whose commissioners include Sadler’s Wells, Manchester International Festival and Salzburg Festival. In 2018 she reimagined Theatre-Rites’ critically acclaimed The Welcoming Party for the Ruhrtriennale Festival, co-directing a walkabout experience for Kew Gardens and developing a production for 3-6 year olds to tour in 2019.